Keeping Bisphenol A | April 9, 2012 Issue - Vol. 90 Issue 15 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 15 | p. 9 | News of The Week
Issue Date: April 9, 2012

Keeping Bisphenol A

Science does not support a ban on BPA used in food packaging, FDA determines.
Department: Government & Policy
News Channels: Environmental SCENE
Keywords: bisphenol A, food safety, FDA, endocrine disrupter

The Food & Drug Administration has rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging. The advocacy group filed the petition in October 2008, claiming that exposure to BPA can cause endocrine-disrupting health effects in humans.

FDA declined the petition because the studies NRDC provided to support its claims used inappropriate dosing methods, had inadequate sample sizes, or had other flaws.

“The best course of action at this time is to continue our review and study of emerging data on BPA,” David H. Dorsey, acting associate commissioner for policy and planning at FDA, wrote in a March 30 denial letter to NRDC. “FDA is performing, monitoring, and reviewing new studies and data as they become available, and depending on the results, any of these studies or data could influence FDA’s assessment and future regulatory decisions about BPA,” he stated.

BPA has been under intense scrutiny for many years because it mimics estrogen and has been linked to cancer and obesity in humans. Although government agencies around the world have declared BPA safe in food packaging, consumer pressure has led to a search for alternatives.

So far, however, most of the alternatives don’t have the performance characteristics of BPA-based epoxy resins, says John M. Rost, chairman of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, an industry group.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society
Brian McMillen (Mon Apr 09 11:32:25 EDT 2012)
Replace with what? So far, virtually every plasticizer tested has endocrine disrupting properties. It would appear that the chemical structure that makes these chemicals useful in plastic resins fits the endocrine receptors, either as an agonist or as an antagonist. When I lecture to my students on teratology, I point out that my chair and i are the way we are because we grew up without plastic. Milk and sodas came in glass bottles and our metal-laden tuna fish came in real tin cans with leaded solder down the seam. Now the fake tin cans have epoxy resin sprayed inside and everything else comes in plastic containers. Are lead and mercury any better or worse than BPA and phthalates?
Ezra Wood (Fri Apr 13 10:42:35 EDT 2012)
"Replace with what?" I don't know - but I would like for it to be something that has neither BPA nor lead or mercury. The last question "Are lead and mercury any better or worse than BPA and phthalates?" - this is similar to asking "would you rather get hit by a car or by a motorcycle?" The answer is of course "neither!". Can't there be a 3rd option - a container that doesn't contain any dangerous compounds?

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